Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Snapshot Summary November 30-December 6

We tested minerals for hardness (Mohs scale), performed scratch tests and tested for magnetism.
They completed their Canopic jar lids, which led to playing with clay for a long time. We made sistrums(Hittite musical instruments). Katie helped Quentin make "M is for Mountain and "N is for Noodles" letter-pictures. She chose not to ignore the fact that M and N look and sound similar, but to do them together and try to emphasize the differences as well as similarities.

James started off the day by opening the first window of the Advent Calendar,

before heading off with Steven to his allergist appointment. It is three hours away, so it makes for a long day. Quentin practiced writing the letter L and painted a leaf fall colors. We did some Living Math. It was the Best of Times . We played with Sequencing Story Cards. He liked to put them out randomly first and laugh at the funny story it made and then put them in order. Sam wrote about mummification. He also did some Greek, spelling, and read about Epic literature. Alex worked on his language arts. He also did some work in science and history. Continuing with the "N is for Noodle" theme, Katie and Quentin made dinner noodles served three ways with tomato sauce, cheese and butter and Italian dressing. We are voting on them. Perhaps you will see the results of our poll later this week. The rabbit had a little time out of the cage. After Steven and James arrived home, Steven immediately left again with Sam to take him to Square Dancing lessons.

We made Hammurabi Puppets to represent the Babylonians. The Hittite sistrums were trimmed and we looked at where the Babylonians and the Hittites were located. Then we discovered the shapes that crystal make. They were not so easy to fold and we persevered and finished them. Sam was pleased with the morning's work.

Katie helped Quentin complete his"M is for Mask" project and he played around with inventive spelling while Alex worked on his language arts. With Katie's help, Quentin made m's into a mouse eating a mint, and mailman with mail in hand, of course. The boys decorated a Gingerbread house (store-bought kit this year). When it comes to decorating for Christmas (especially the tree) and making Gingerbread houses, some prefer to have everything beautifully perfect and guide children to decorate by mother's design. I do love the perfectly beautiful, but Christmas is for children and there is nothing more beautiful than having three boys ages 5 to 12 decorating a Gingerbread house together with rapt attention and without any disagreement. With each candy, I see little hands placing it there with joy. Sam worked on his Greek, figured out the mathematical patterns within the Platonic solids,wrote about how the Nile river flows, and tried to invent a new way to do multiplication, challenging me to figure out why it wouldn't work. Quentin worked on handwriting and enjoyed painting -"M is for Monkey". He worked on a worksheet in which part of it asked him to color the things that you put on your feet. As he was coloring the boots, he asked me what the loops at the top of the boots were and if they were the same color as the boots, which led to him trying on Dad's boots. James read to me another Dr. Seuss book. The good doctor seems to have sparked an interest in reading. He made up his own math problems. He would roll a die to generate numbers (I need to break out a set of 10-sided dice in the future) and he would decide whether he would make an addition, a subtraction, a multiplication or a division problem. He rolled a 1 and decided this would be a subtraction problem, but then he rolled a two. I paused to think of whether to try to teach him the concept of negative numbers, when he piped up and said, "It is negative 1, isn't it?" Surprised, I said, "Yes, how did you know that?" He just shrugged and said, "I just know it."

We made "stained glass" Christmas ornaments made from tissue paper. We worked on Greek and added the Hittites and Babylonians to our timeline and started Astronomy lapbooks made of their own design. They decide how they want it to look and what they want to include in it. I just sit back and watch how differently they turn out. Katie made an alphabet relay race game. First they got an index card with a letter on it from the shed in the backyard, and then they had to race to the trampoline, pick up the stuffed animal that starts with that letter, and run it back to the shed with the letter for Katie to confirm accuracy. The little boys finally discovered the Hittite shoes that were made last week. And then off to the library for Christmas reading.
James experimented with lenses. We spent much of the day thoroughly cleaning the house in preparation for Christmas. When the kids tired of cleaning, but Steven and I had more to do, Katie helped her brothers with today's craft foil icicles which everyone enjoyed making very much especially Alex.

Meanwhile outside, the first snow fell. It won't stick but it is still fun to see. Before bed the boys enjoyed more snow pictures in the lovely book by Tanya Shpakow, On the Way to Christmas.
More cleaning to do, so Katie entertained the young ones first with games and then with stringing cranberries and popcorn, eating a bit of popcorn along the way. Next, off to get the tree. The day's end brings us a few books featuring Santa. Steven read the boys Santa Claus and The Woodcutter by Kathrin Siegenthaler.

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